Day 3

Be Thou My Vision

from the Hymns III reading plan

Jeremiah 9:23-24, Matthew 6:21, Romans 8:14-17, 2 Corinthians 3:16-18, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

BY Guest Writer

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.

This morning I set out to ride my bike in the pouring rain. I’m training for my mid-life crisis triathlon. It’s a mini-triathlon, really; 400 meter swim, 14 mile bike ride, and 3 mile run. Nevertheless, it exhausts me to type that much physical activity, much less train for it. I figured if I’m heading over the hill this year, I might as well try to swim, bike and run over it.

The rain was cold and exhilarating this morning, waking me with each drop. There was a sweet smell of honeysuckle in the air, hinting towards eternity, and a small waterfall was forming off the front of my bike helmet making it hard for me to see. It reminded me of when my eye doctor prescribed my coke bottle-sized glasses when I was in the 3rd grade. I was nearsighted—like today, I could only see the road near me. Everything off in the distance was just a blur.

There’s something about training for a race that makes you think in terms of distance, focusing on the end goal. You begin to calculate the miles, getting so caught up in your vision of the finish line that you miss the beauty around you on the journey.

During my rainy bike ride it dawned on me: too often I think of God in the distance, like a far-off God in the sky, listening to my lowly prayers from high above. Imagining Him this way causes me to create false rules in an effort to get His attention—if I get on my knees will He incline His ear to hear me? if I’m good enough, will He draw closer to me?—all the while forgetting that He promised to be near from the moment I gave my life to Him. In John 14:23, Jesus says, “My father will love him and we will come and make our home in him.” He says of His Spirit a few verses earlier, “But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you” (Jn 14:17).

So, the Holy Spirit is ALREADY in me when I pray? It is gospel truth, and it’s no less true just because it’s sometimes hard for us to believe.

Our God is always near to us, even when our vision is unclear. I could feel the Lord nudging me awake to His closeness as I rode my bike through the park. He was leading me to green pastures and open spaces. He was wooing me with cool raindrops falling upon my skin, with the rhythmic sounds of water and my own breathing. My Savior was beckoning me with a green, glowing landscape and the sweet smell of honeysuckle, and the combination resonated deep within me. The smells and sounds and scenery were intimate, just like Jesus—His very name, Emmanuel, meaning “God with us.”

As this truth sunk in and I began to see God as near, because He always is, I began to smile and sing. Yes, I sang out loud, and yes, some more serious cyclists dressed in better attire than me heard, but I kept singing nonetheless: Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my HEART.

Friends, it begins here, with the heart—the intimate place, the wellspring, the place we store up treasure. It is here in our hearts that we see God with the nearsighted vision that is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and it’s here that I began to sing that hymn differently. I sang it to my heart instead of to the sky, as I pedaled onward in the rain.


Mandy Mann lives with her hubby, Kevin, and their two boys in Nashville, Tennessee. A lover of Jesus, Mandy’s favorite things are the ones that beckon her closer to Him—Scripture, singing and songwriting, photography, the great outdoors, and drawing laughter out of those she loves. Overseas, you might hear Mandy’s songs played on various commercials. Stateside, she is working on new music and enjoying her time as a stay-at-home mama.  

Be Thou My Vision
attributed to Dal­lan For­gaill, 8th cent.
translated by Mary E. Bryne, 1905

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.


Post Comments (166)

166 thoughts on "Be Thou My Vision"

  1. Jenniwrengirl says:

    I live nature. Love to sit by the sea and hear the waves ebb and flow the constant never changing rhythm. This always brings me to a place of prayer . Psalm 119

  2. karensmustang says:

    My daughter's version of this song.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I just ended an affair with a very kind man vs my abusive husband that is "said" changed and I have been separated from for 8 months now…. I love the Lord with all my heart and NEVER thought I would end up here in my life; how did I end up so bitter that I let go of the One that puts the song in my heart and skip in my step for sin that has robbed me of my joy and taken me to a place where only confusion lives… Be Thou MY Vision Lord – refresh my soul everyday, for the rest of my life and let my children see it….Amen

    1. Mindy says:

      Praying for you as you are trusting in God. Relationships are hard, we need so much and it’s so easy to forget God’s promise to meet our needs, and to try to meet our needs our own ways…praying sister!

  4. Brigid says:

    I love this hymn so much, so thank you for making such a beautiful version! I always feel close to God when I hear this hymn. It has some feeling of intimacy woven through it that resonates with me as I grow in my faith, it’s like being woven into cloth. God is the strength in the weave that holds me together and prevents me from coming undone, even when damaged. Thank you SRT team!

  5. Carol says:

    Such beauty and love in this hymn and in all the encouragement here. To allow ourselves to rest in God … a precious thing.

    1. Christin says:

      I totally agree with you. I cherish the peace I find when I allow myself to release my worries and draw near to God.

  6. Hannah says:

    I love the line “Naught be all else to me save that thou art” because whenever I say it, I have to really think about it… what do those works mean? And the truth and the prayer hidden in that old-fashioned grammar is breathtaking. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I was actually just introduced to this hymn a few days before this was posted. Reading this today, the meaning is really sinking in for me and I have tears in my eyes because I realize how close He is. He is as close as my heart beat and we share a breath. And I think now that this is a song that I’ll always love.

    I love the new in-app song feature by the way! So handy! Question: Will this album be available on Spotify?


    1. Hannah says:

      I’ve been meditating on how literally each of our breaths come from Him recently. Thanks for reminding me!!

      1. Kaylan says:

        It’s great to read something that’s both enjoyable and provides prditamgsac solutions.

  8. Claire says:

    I always needed reminded to enjoy each day and not always be focused on what I want my life to be, but what God has planned for my life. This was just what I needed to read, thank you!

    1. Mare says:

      I agree claire!!

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